Hypercubes and Other Impossible Polyhedra

18 September 2011

Nightmare Storm

Filed under: Lost Worlds,Run Logs — Lise Mendel @ 1:22
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Dark Monster on the Prairies

As the day progressed, the strange clouds continued to approach from the Southwest, though the prevailing winds came from the East right up until the moment when the storm hit.  The rains began just when the sun set.

John retired with Rosie and her family, and Sydney, as arranged, spent the night with the Jurgens.  The rest of the film crew (minus Priscilla) and Gian, Emilia and Trent went to the Inn.  Trent looked over the situation, and set up a simple barricade at the top of the stairs, then took Randy and Jason and volunteered to help the town watch patrol, and communicate via walkie-talkie.  As the watch was short three men (the injured Fred Martin and two other sensitive members) they were grateful for the help.

The evening started off as uneventful.  The Basques rowdies were steadfastly drinking themselves into a stupor at the bar (though the troublemaker, Tom, was not seen), and the streets were empty.  After several hours the first alarm was sounded, Randy, Jason, and Randolph Barber (the head of the watch) encountered a woman in a nightshirt racing through the street, claiming her husband was trying to kill her.  She was calmed and the man subdued.

Trent spotted a form jumping from a second floor window, and quickly chased down a half grown boy with a sprained ankle.  The teenager was quickly subdued, and Trent brought him back to the house he’d been seen leaving (apparently not his own).  Randy and Trent decided to check on Sydney and John.

Meanwhile, Sydney heard an altercation in her hosts bedroom, and found Mr. Jurgen, eyes glazed and apparently in a trancelike state, beating his wife.  She dissuaded him from this with a fireplace poker.

John was awoken from a deep sleep by Rosie seeking comfort in the dark.  Some instinct warned him that all was not well, and he narrowly avoided being skewered by a knife.  He managed to subdue her without any serious injuries to either of them, and was nonplussed to realize her children had seen some part of their altercation.

The pattern soon emerged.  Rather than affecting the children (as the last major nightmare storm had) this time it was lovers who were affected with murderous rage and fear.  By the time the evening was over there were half a dozen serious injuries, the most serious of which was a teenaged girl at the house where Trent had left the boy.  There were three townsfolk unaccounted for.

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4 July 2011

Running Before the Storm

Filed under: Lost Worlds,Run Logs — Lise Mendel @ 9:19
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Run on 3 July 2011

The next morning, the RS Medici left Madagascar with nearly a score of children and a handful of parents.  By this time, Hassan had a copy of Captain Hawkin’s navigation charts and notes (something like the following) and was fairly confident of his ability to traverse the difficult seas.  He was also made to understand that, with the Pod gone, there would be more of a risk of Albatroll (pteradon) attack.

The film crew (sans Priscilla) and Gian and co. stayed behind to make space available, after some waffling on Dr. Smiths part about whether it was preferable to weather the storm or be on a boat surrounded by small children.   The wounded Fred Martin, his wife, and their daughter were among the passengers.  Priscilla had convinced Robert (her admirer from First Impressions) to come along.  He was reluctant because he felt that the townsfolk all hated him.  Once aboard the ship, the parents who came along shared with her the gossip about him, which only increase her sympathy for the awkward young man. Other than that, the first day’s sailing was marred by nothing worse than signs of rodents in the food stores, and Birdie set out traps.

Meanwhile, the townsfolk which stayed behind on Madagascar seemed more concerned with who would pay Dr. Smythe’s tab (one season of Martin’s pay) than with the storm.  There was a long and rather dry council meeting, open to the town (many of whom came to watch), which looked very much like a set -up to make the herdsman Donel Allen pay the bulk of the bill.

Randy was outraged at the injustice, and the way the council seemed to conspire to perpetrate it.  He interrupted Dr. Smith’s tea with the widows (Julia Brown and Sarah North) to try to convince him to speak up.  Dr. Smith took heed of widow Brown’s opinion of Mr. Allen, and declined.

Gian, who was also watching the Council meeting, bided his time and began to come up with a strategy which would serve justice and increase his own influence at the same time.

John Morgan spent a more profitable day at the tavern with the Basques, gambling rubber bands (a real curiosity) for Nip coins.  The dice game got occasional updates on the state of the Council meeting, and his gaming buddies got more drunk and more ominous as the news came in.

The day ended without the Council coming to a decision, and a dark cloud forming to the Southwest (although the winds continued to come from the East).  Sydney had dinner with Brand Martin (Fred Martin’s half brother, also sensitive to the Nightmare Storms, who had donated blood for the surgery) and his family, finding out more about what the storms were like and what the dangers were.

By the time the sun went down the gamers were in a truly foul mood, and muttering darkly about the town council having it in for the Allen family, and having robbed their mother’s grave.  They staggered off shortly before Randy, still outraged by the injustice of it all, came into the tavern to see if younger and prettier Basque women than Rosie could be had.  Instead, he heard the story of the drunks running off (led by Rosie’s brother Tom) and he was recruited by that woman to stop them.  He, John, Rosie, and a couple of somewhat more sober Basque men went off to cool things down.  There was a brief brawl before the Council building, which ended with Randy shooting into the air and pointing out that the Watch would come soon, which scattered most of the drunks.  John Morgan subdued the one remaining one (Rosie’s brother Tom, of course) and carried him off to his sister’s place while Randy stayed behind to explain to the watch that he had been shooting at rats.

Randy went off to spend the night at the Inn, while Morgan took advantage of Rosie’s hospitality and gratitude.  The two of them spoke of her mother, of magic, and of John’s belief that her world had been somehow constructed artificially.

30 June 2011

The Gathering Storm

Filed under: Lost Worlds,Run Logs — Lise Mendel @ 1:08
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Run on 26 June 2011

While the emu hunt was going on, the merfolk finally arrived in Madagascar, bringing news of a Nightmare Storm coming from the Southwest, due to hit in a day or two.  Anemone explained to Birdie that this meant the pod,  would migrate, and that further sea travel would be much more risky.  It also meant that many of Madagascar’s fishermen and sailors would be leaving for some time.

Questioning of townsfolk brought out some little information about the storm.  They happened every few years, and only those with sensitive minds were affected.  They would have nightmares of death.  In a ‘bad one’ they would not be able to tell waking reality from the nightmare, and sometimes they acted out.  Most of the villagers were more worried about their children than themselves.

Gian thought it would be a good idea to offer the ship as a way to harbor the more sensitive children.  He discussed the idea with Captain Margarite, who needed some idea to consider.   He also discussed it with several townsfolk, including Captain Hawkins, who said that it had been tried before, and the ship had been caught at sea during the nightmares, and that it had not ended well.  He also admitted that the Medici was far faster than his own ship.

Also that day, Randolph Barber, the Captain of the Watch, took Gian to see Mrs. King, the town’s only merchant, and issuer of chits.  There was a complicated exchange of notes (one ‘season’ from Dr. Smythe to Fred Martin, a ‘season’ from the town watch to Dr. Smythe, and some complication about where that ‘season’ should come from, Donal Allen, the owner of the rabbit farm which was attacked, not admitting that it was in any way his fault that Martin got injured).

Also during that day, the Widow Brown invited Dr. Smith to join her for tea. They discussed her late husband’s library and natural sciences with two young friends of Mrs. Brown’s.  Sarah Harper, a young widow, was completely charmed by Dr. Smith’s company.  Victoria Iwonson noticibly less so.

Before the sun had set, Gian had publicly made his offer of a trip far to sea for some of those most at risk of the nightmare storm, confident that the Captain would respect the fact that he had chartered the boat.  He asked the film crew to stay ashore for the duration.

That evening, the film crew drank and gambled and shared stories at the local pub, and picked up some interesting rumors and folklore.

7 April 2011

A Pearl of Great Price

Filed under: Images,Lost Worlds,Run Logs — Lise Mendel @ 10:12
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Run on 2 April 2011

As the crew began to ready the submersible for use, one of the mermaids approached the ship, accompanied by a dolphin. Randy hailed her as she approached. She responded with a cheerful greeting which sounded like “Konichi”, so he attempted to speak to her in Japanese. She responded in a pidgin-Japanese, and they exchanged awkward greetings. Birdie, who also spoke the language, asked her what she liked to eat, and she requested permission to come aboard.

Birdie and Randy simultaneously acquiesced, and told the rest of the company that she was coming on the ship. There was a brief and concerned conversation under which the Captain made it clear that he, and only he, had the authority to invite someone on his ship, but did not actively try to countermand the previously given invitation. The passengers helped the mermaid aboard as the crew kept a cautious watch.

Once she had been levered to the swim deck, the mermaid unfurled her ‘tail’, a membrane which wrapped around two shapely, and very human looking, legs. She introduced herself as “Anemone”, and then began an awkward conversation with Randy and Birdie. After a while she heard the rest of the film crew speaking in English, and switched to an equally awkward version of that language.

Anemone tried to answer the questions she was asked, but was somewhat limited by language and conceptual barriers. Even so, she conveyed that there were two friendly cultures within a few days travel, Nipu (which spoke the Japanese variant) and Madagascar, which was populated by “Ausies” and spoke English. She tried to explain where they were, and got into an intense but confusing conversation with Hassan about relative locations. He went to speak to the Captain, and the film crew continued to speak to Anemone. Birdie prepared her a meal of sushi, and Gian provided a diamond necklace to present to her on behalf of the ship and crew. Sydney asked her more about where Madagascar was, and Anemone said that the pod would be glad to lead them there. Sydney went off to clear things up with Hassan, but he did not react well to the implication that he could not navigate there on his own. Anemone went off to rejoin the pod. As the ship went underway Birdie and Anemone continued to signal to each other.

The next day Anemone returned with two mermen, Shab-at’babaak and Bob, carrying a fresh tuna and a fist sized pearl, which they presented to “the ship and the crew”. The three merfolk spent the day aboard, getting to know the people of the RS Medicci, and guide them to the Madagascar (named after a ship which crashed some years ago). The trip was otherwise uneventful, except for the sighting of a strange flying creature at a distance. Jason was able to get some good shots of it, and managed to digitally enhance the image. As worrisome as the creature was, they had no close encounters. According to Anemone, the flyers stay away from the whale pod.

The image in this picture is based on a work with a Creative Commons, Attribution, non-commercial Share-alike license by Mark Witton

19 March 2011

Under Strange Seas

Filed under: Lost Worlds,Run Logs — Lise Mendel @ 8:05
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It was either incredible luck (good or bad) or a the hand of fate which led Emilia Sforza and her friend Sydney Scott to the Enoteca Decanter that day in February.  In either case, they ran into the unfortunate Randolph Pecker and his film crew.  The crew was running into serious difficulty in filming their documentary on the ‘Real’ Atlantis.  The two of them listened sympathetically (and perhaps with some amusement) to Randy’s tale of woe, and the difficulty they were having in getting to the Azores where, coincidentally, Sydney also wanted to go.

So it was that when Emilia’s boyfriend, Gian Visconti (the self-proclaimed last duke of Milan), wanted to whisk her away for Valentines day she knew exactly where she wanted to go.  Gian was more than amenable to finance the film making and giving Sydney a lift as well, so he hired the luxury yacht RS Medicci, made a few phone calls, and they were underway in just a few days time.

The ship had been at sea for over a day, when the First Mate, Hassan Jababbi spotted a boat which seemed to be following them.  He notified Fernando Margarite, the captain, who was not particularly perturbed.   The next day and a half was uneventful and pleasant.  The passengers grew to appreciate the skills of Birdie (the ships cook).   By the time they passed through the Straits of Gibraltar Priscilla Garcia, the young ‘research assistant’ who was to add a bit of scenery to the documentary made sure that the photographer, Jason Steel, knew which was their best side.

On afternoon of the seventeenth they ran into a patch of bad weather.  At the same time, the communications were disrupted by some environmental condition, and the strange craft Hassan had noticed earlier drew closer.  Jason was on deck filming the choppy seas when the first shot was fired.  The crew scrambled, with the Captain Margarite taking the helm and every armed man scrambling to the deck to defend the Medecci from these mysterious attackers.  They were apparently armed with a grenade launcher, and the largest weapon on the yacht was John Morgan’s rifle.  They exchanged a few volleys, while Fernando  madly steered into the heart of the storm.

Suddenly, the ship was caught in a waterspout.  Those on deck grabbed for something solid, but Birdie lost his footing and was pitched overboard.  He grabbed onto the railing in desperation, and held on for dear life as the ship pitched madly.  Fernando  managed to keep the boat from capsizing as the waterspout subsided, then became a whirlpool, but the crewman Luigi was swept from the deck and also grabbed hold of the railing.  This entire time Jason kept filming.  Randy, perhaps conscious that the camera was upon him, made a mad dash across the deck and managed to heave Birdie up to the ship.  John grabbed hold of Luigi, and for a brief moment it looked as though he might pull him to safety, but, in the end, he lost his grip and watched the crewman plummet into the heart of the maelstrom.  Later, he said that it looked as though he had fallen through the sea and up to clear blue skies.

The Medecci was tossed and spun and drawn down the whirlpool, and there was a great deal of confusion which ended with a sudden drop, and suddenly they were sailing on smooth seas under a clear blue sky.  There were some minor injuries, the most serious being Hassan, who suffered a nasty crack on the head, and Emilia, who broke her arm.  The ships doctor, Gabriel Smythe, (not to be confused with Dr. Mandrake Smith, the marine biologist  and geologist who was part of the documentary crew) patched them up as well as he could.  Hassan refused to allow himself to be confined to the sickbay, and insisted on going back to his post.

The communications and navigation equipment was still out, but he and  Captain Margrite decided their best course was to head East and reach Portugal.  They traveled until sunset, when it became obvious that they were very, very far from home.  There were too few stars, for one thing, and Hassan was convinced that the ones there were were completely wrong.  He got his telescope out, and was even more convinced, wherever they were, they were not on Earth (he was not so sure they were not within it).  He tried to explain this to Gian, who asked to borrow some of his books on astronomy.

Later in the evening Randy took it upon himself to go fishing (and drinking beer).  He managed to play in a very strange catch, and called for Dr. Smith (not Smythe) to take a look at it.  It was six feet long and reptilian.

In the morning, as Randy was being fortified by one of Birdie’s hangover cures,  Dr. Smith dissected the creature, assisted by Ms. Scott, watched by Dr. Smythe and filmed by Mr. Steel, dissected the creature.  He thought it some sort of primitive pliesiosaur, very similar to creatures known from fossils of the Triassic period.

At this point the Fernando, Hassan and Gian thought their best course of action was to loop back and try to retrace their path (as best they could) to the point where the storm had dropped them out, as none of them could think of any better ideas.

The voyage was peaceful. Priscilla, catching a bit of air on the deck spotted a pod of whales which was pacing the ship at a distance. Jason took advantage of this time to film interviews with everyone who wasn’t involved in other work about the events of the previous day.

The whales swam in cautious circles around the boat (which was operating on battery power to conserve fuel, so traveled fairly slowly) and gradually drew closer.  Priscilla was eventually able to see that there were dolphins swimming with the pod, and some creature smaller still.  Eventually she declared that they were swimming with mermaids.  As the other passengers took turns looking at the approaching pod through Hassan’s telescope and the binoculars.

Someone suggested that this would be a good time to use the mini-sub and take a closer look.

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